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French foreign minister in Israel, P.A.

France’s foreign minister is visiting Israel days after admitting his government is having unofficial contacts with Hamas.

Bernard Kouchner held talks Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem before
going to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Olmert’s office said he briefed Kouchner on Israeli peace efforts with Abbas’ administration and Syria. Tthere was no immediate word from Israel about France’s policy toward Hamas.

After French media reported that a former Paris diplomat had met Hamas officials, Kouchner confirmed that the contacts were sanctioned by the Sarkozy government.

But the foreign minister insisted that Paris would continue to formally shun the Palestinian Islamist faction as long as it refuses to recgonize Israel and forswear terrorism.

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